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Bonnies and Dukes Meet For Second Time In Eight Days Saturday

ST. BONAVENTURE (7-1, 5-1) at DUQUESNE (4-5, 3-4)
Saturday, Jan. 23 - 7:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Online Coverage: Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
TV: ESPN+
Radio: Bonnies Basketball Radio Network
Complete Game Notes (PDF)

OPENING TIP NOTES

  • The Bonnies are off to one of the best starts in program history. Overall, St. Bonaventure is 7-1 which is its best start since the 2000-01 season when the Bonnies started 8-1. In Atlantic 10 play, the Bonnies are 5-1, which is second-only to the 1982-83 squad which began 6-1. A win Saturday would match both of those marks.
  • A win Saturday would get the Bonnies into truly rarified air in terms of Bona Basketball history: Prior to 2000-01, the last time a St. Bonaventure squad started 8-1 or better was the 1970-71 team which opened their campaign 9-1, including an eight-game win streak to begin the year. The 1969-70 Final Four squad won its first 12 games and lost just once during the regular season. In 1967-68, the famed "Ironman Five" went 23-0 during the regular season.
  • The Bonnies are allowing just 60.6 points per game – the lowest total of any A-10 defense, and a number that also ranks 12th in the nation. Bona has held its last three opponents to under 55 points – and a key has been its lockdown defense during the second half. SBU outscored VCU by a 45-14 margin in the second half of Wednesday's win and during the past three games, the Bonnies own a 111-56 scoring advantage while its opponents have shot just 27 percent from the floor (VCU: 5-26; DUQ: 9-27; FOR: 6-22).
TRENDING NUMBERS 
6 – St. Bonaventure has had as much bad luck with games being wiped out due to virus concerns as just about any team in the nation. The Bonnies have had six games cancelled because of virus concerns either within their own program or an opponent. Only Detroit Mercy and Iona have had more cancellations (7) while New Mexico State, Fordham and James Madison have each had six. A seventh game, Jan. 9's scheduled game vs. GW, was postponed and will be made up at a later date.
4 – The Bonnies rank in the Atlantic 10's top four in each of the following defensive categories: scoring defense (first), 3-point field goal percentage defense (second), field goal percentage defense (second) and rebounds per game (first).
5 – Bona's five-game winning streak is the longest active win streak in the A-10.
7 – Osun Osunniyi handed out a career-high seven assists in last week's win at Fordham, the most by a Bonnies center during the Mark Schmidt Era.
11 – Alejandro Vasquez provided a spark off the bench last Friday vs. Duquesne, scoring a season-high 11 points. He scored in double figures eight times as a freshman, but last week's game was his first such performance since Feb. 1, 2020 vs. George Mason.
13 – The Bonnies are averaging 13 offensive rebounds per game, leading in the A-10.
15 – Both the Bonnies and Dukes overcame 15-point deficits to win their Wednesday games vs. VCU and Rhode Island respectively.
18 – Jaren Holmes has 18 of Bona's 42 3-pointers on the year. As a team, the Bonnies have struggled from beyond the arc (30.7%), but Holmes ranks second in the league by shooting 46.2% from deep.
27 – Bona handed out 27 assists on 32 made field goals Jan. 6 vs. SJU - it was the most assists in a game by the Bonnies during Mark Schmidt's 14 years as head coach. Bona followed that up with 20 assists on 24 field goals last Wednesday at Fordham. Bona is averaging over nearly 16 assists per game, ranking third in the A-10.
32 – Osun Osunniyi has 32 career games of three or more blocks.
61% – Despite a down shooting effort on Wednesday (4-11), Jalen Adaway still ranks third in the A-10 by shooting better than 61 percent from the floor.
+90 – The Bonnies are +90 in points in the paint this year, outscoring their opponent in each game thus far.
 
PREVIOUS MEETING
St. Bonaventure 62, Duquesne 48 (1/15/21)
On a night where he was honored in pregame for joining the program's 1,000-point club, St. Bonaventure junior Kyle Lofton proved on a national stage why he already has a spot in the Bonnies record books by leading the way with a game-high 28 points as his squad stifled Duquesne, 62-48, in front of a national audience.
 
Lofton came through with his season-high in scoring, frequently working himself to the line by drawing eight fouls and going 12-of-14 at the charity stripe. The nation's ironman last season, he played all 40 minutes during the Atlantic 10's Friday Night Showcase on ESPN2. More impressively, 23 of his points came after halftime.
 
Reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week Jaren Holmes posted 11 points and nine rebounds while sophomore Alejandro Vasquez chipped in 11 key points off the bench for a season-high of his own.
 
SERIES HISTORY
This will be the 126th meeting between the longtime A-10 rivals. St. Bonaventure leads the series, 65-60. St. Bonaventure has won nine of the last 10, but had an eight-game winning streak snapped in last February's Duquesne overtime win. In 100 seasons of basketball, the Bonnies have only played Western New York rivals Canisius (168 meetings) and Niagara (160) more than Duquesne. Last year, the two teams had a pair of highly entertaining games. In the first meeting, Kyle Lofton's trey snapped what was a four-minute cold spell that caused a 77-70 Bonnies lead to turn into a 77-77 tie as the clock ticked under 90 seconds. Though forced to sit for a time during the late minutes because of four fouls, Lofton finished with 21 points and seven assists on 7-of-11 shooting as the Bonnies won, 83-80. Bona has won nine of the last 11 vs. Duquesne dating to 2016, but seven of those games have been decided by six or fewer points.
 
ABOUT DUQUESNE
Like the Bonnies, the Dukes have been hit hard with COVID delays, but seem to be catching some momentum with a tremendous comeback win of their own over Rhode Island Wednesday night, erasing a 15-point deficit to score a two-point win.
 
Saturday's game will be a matchup of two of the league's top defenses: while the Bonnies lead the A-10 in points allowed (60), Duquesne ranks fifth (65 ppg allowed). Duquesne is the only A-10 team guarding the perimeter better than the Bonnies thus far as opponents are hitting just 27 percent of their 3-point attempts.
 
BONNIES IN THE NET
Bona currently stands No. 42 in the NCAA NET rankings with a Quadrant 1 road win at Richmond earlier this month. Several A-10 teams rank highly in the current NET standings: Saint Louis (16), St. Bonaventure (42), Richmond (50), VCU (57), Rhode Island (70) and Davidson (73) all rank in the NET Top 75. 
 
OFFENSE IS FICKLE, DEFENSE WINS GAMES
Bona head coach Mark Schmidt likes to tell his players that offense is fickle, but defense can be a constant that allows winning teams to weather offensive droughts. The Bonnies have been one of the A-10's best defensive teams in recent years: In addition to leading the conference in scoring defense this year, SBU has limited A-10 opponents to 60 points or less 22 times since the start of 2018-19, including in four straight.
 
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